Election 2014: Interest high as 10 vie for mayor’s chair

As of Friday, there are 10 mayoral candidates and 26 for Nanaimo city council.

Ten candidates are fighting to win votes in what’s now the biggest battle for mayor in three decades.

The nomination period closed Friday, with Nanaimo newcomer Kendal Csak becoming the 10th challenger for mayor.

There are 26 people vying for a seat around the council table.

While no records are broken for council candidates, this is the largest leadership race the city has seen since 1982, according to the City of Nanaimo.

The last time the city saw a political race of this scale was in 2005, when there were eight candidates for mayor and 39 for council.

With more candidates, the election is inevitably going to be a little more interesting, according to Alexander Netherton, political studies professor at Vancouver Island University, who believes the mayoralty is up for grabs from strong contenders.

He also anticipates a substantial change in council. Incumbent council members have a leg up, but at least three have announced they will not seek a seat, including councillors George Anderson and Diana Johnstone.

“Its an open game,” he said.

Ten people had thrown their hats into the mayoral race as of last Friday’s nomination deadline.

The names on the ballot will include Nanaimo city council veteran Bill Holdom, incumbent mayor John Ruttan and former mayor Gary Korpan. Businessmen Roger McKinnon and Al Thompson, Brunie Brunie, Coun. Bill McKay, Alisha Neumann-Ladret, Jim Routledge and Kendal Csak are also running.

Incumbent councillors Jim Kipp, Bill Bestwick, Fred Pattje, Ted Greves and Diane Brennan are looking to return to their seats. New contenders include Paul Gogo, keyboardist for the Canadian rock band Trooper; the Queen’s owner Jerry Hong;  Kevin Cantelon, a lawyer and eldest son of retired MLA Ron Cantelon; and Buzz Coffee Shop owner Scott Henderson.

Also on the list are: Geraldine Manson, Gail Adrienne, Brian Anderson, Jack Arnold, Fred Brooks, Leon Cake, Stephen Cochrane, Gord Fuller, Jim Goldsack, Tali Campbell, Mike Horn, Karen Hovestad, Wendy Pratt, Jim Taylor, Ian Thorpe, Ian Thompson and Bill Yoachim.